With modern facilities in the Wet Tropics Daintree Rainforest, we have the ideal environment to connect secondary students to biology, ecology and biodiversity. For tertiary students, we have the perfect environment to get exposure to field conditions in a working research station only 2 hours from Port Douglas with all the facilities typically available to researchers.

A number of pre-prepared curriculum-linked resources are available for teachers, and the we can also offer an education facilitator to enhance students' learning experiences.

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Learning Environment

The modern teaching and conference facilities are designed with student-centred and inquiry-focused practice in mind. The open design and flexible spaces create many vistas where one can look up to rainforest-clad mountains or down over sweeping views to the Coral Sea. This is one of the few areas in the world where the reef meets the rainforest and the only place where two World Heritage Areas sit side by side. The modern amenities, along with rich biodiversity and geographical remoteness, create a unique and inspirational learning environment.

Activities

We have living and learning resources which school groups have access to: beds and amenities, microscopes and lab space, and much more. Here are some of the experiential activities we offer.

Rainforest Crane Teachers and students may be able to experience the rainforest canopy from above by going up in the rainforest crane.
Trail Exploration Surrounding the research station, several trails traverse various elevations and rainforest growth at various stages of succession. These trails provide avenues for students to experience primary and secondary rainforest, rainforest reforestation, as well as a dynamic creek.
Transects Transects are used to research occurrence of a species within an area. Ecologists and biologists use transects to estimate the abundance of populations and to study the many symbiotic elements that contribute to habitats where certain plants and animals thrive. This activity can be included in Year 11/12 Environment Assessment to aid students collecting field data. To help you guide students through sampling along a transect, we have developed a transect teacher guide.
Water Quality Testing This activity can be included in Year 11/12 Environment Assessment to aid students in collecting field data. To help you guide students through collecting and analysing water samples, we have developed a water quality teacher and student guide.
Magic Spots Magic Spots are an environmental education activity, where students sit by themselves for 10-15 minutes and simply observe their surroundings. For many teachers and students, finding 10-15 minutes to observe and reflect without distraction seldom happens during busy school days. During this structured reflection time, students can be encouraged to record their sensory observations through writing, drawing, or creating sound images.
Dawn-chorus Bird Sighting While on site, students and teachers can take advantage of the dawn chorus of the many birds that live in the Daintree rainforest. this can be guided by research station field staff or independently organised. Many researchers visiting the research station have seen cassowaries on site.
Animal Spotlighting Many animals are nocturnal in the rainforest so planning to go animal spotlighting will provide students and teachers the opportunity to catch a glimpse of possums, bandicoots, rainforest rats, snakes, and spiders.
Leaf Pressing Teachers and students can request to learn how to press leaves and learn archival processes for documenting plant species for the herbarium.
JCU Researcher Presentations Academic researchers may be available to give a presentation on their current research projects. Please leave a comment in your booking form if you are interested in a researcher presentation.

Humans in the Ecosystem - Year 9 Science

We have created a curriculum-linked, extended experimental investigation which will guide students through an inquiry-based and experiential learning process. In this investigation, students work in small groups to compare plant diversity in 3 different ecosystems within the Daintree Research Observatory grounds. Through this activity students will:

  • develop a plan to measure abiotic and biotic factors in three different ecosystems
  • make hypothesis about how the 3 different ecosystems will differ from each other
  • collect data
  • collect plant specimens from each of the 3 ecosystems
  • make inferences and conclusions
  • present their findings

We have developed a teacher's guide and a student booklet for this activity.

Environment Assessment - Year 11/12 Biology

In this investigation, students imagine that they are contracted by the Happy Holidays Company to compile a preliminary environment assessment on the potential impact of the development of an eco-friendly resort at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory. Working in small groups, students will design and carry out a series of procedures to assess the potential impact and report back to Happy Holidays Company. It is suggested that students learn how to conduct a transect and how to sample water quality before commencing this activity. In this activity students will:

  • develop a plan to measure key factors required for an Environment Assessment
  • collect data
  • make inferences and conclusions
  • present their findings.

We have developed a teacher's guide and a student booklet for this activity.